Pearl Pinson abducted; suspect shot and killed

pearl pinson

UPDATE 9/4/17 – The fatal officer-involved shooting last year in Solvang of a man suspected of harming a still-missing girl from Vallejo has been ruled a justifiable homicide, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, reports NoozHawk.

5/27/16 – Police are searching for a missing teen after she was abducted and the suspect in her kidnapping has been killed in a shootout.


Pearl Pinson, 1pearlpinson25, was last seen on Wed. May 25 being dragged into a car on an overpass above I-780 in Vallejo, Calif., by who the police now know was Fernando Castro, 19, reports KTLA 5 news. A witness stated that Pearl’s face was bleeding and she was calling for help. The witness ran to get help and heard a gunshot. The police found blood at the scene and shortly after an Amber Alert was released in Southern California.

Another account reads, “Castro, appeared to be forcing Pinson to walk quickly over the crossing, and later said the man was on top of the girl, who appeared to be bleeding from her face. The girl yelled, “Help! Call the police. He is going to shoot me,” the witness told authorities. The witness fled when Castro pointed the gun in his direction. Video surveillance captured the Gold Saturn leaving the area, and Solano County sheriff’s deputies searched the man’s residence. In the suspect’s residence, investigators found .38-caliber ammunition, zip ties, a “suicide letter” and a makeshift gun silencer crafted from an automative filter, the report noted. “While the note is referred to as a ‘suicide note,’ it was not found in a place where it could have been easily found by family members, and it contained no date indicating when it was written,” the report noted.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office tracked Castro’s 1996 Saturn on southbound Highway 101 in San Luis Obispo on Thursday. As they approached Castro led them on a high-speed chase unit he crashed in front of a mobile home in Solvang. He ran into the home and a resident ran out, reports People. Shortly after Castro came out of the house with a gun and discharged the weapon. He then jumped into a grey Toyota Tundra truck and tried to drive away, while he was shooting at the police. Police returned fire and Castro was fatally shot at the scene.

What happened to Pearl between the incident on the bridge and Castro being located is unknown. The Saturn associated with Castro was spotted in a surveillance camera in Marin County Thursday morning, but the teen was not seen in the car with him, according to KTLA sister station KTXL.

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The police are searching for her and said that she was wearing a gray sweater and black leggings and carrying a black and turquoise backpack. Pearl is 5’3” tall and 130 pounds with brown hair that is dyed green.

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Pearl’s family did not known Castro but the investigation so far points to the fact that Pearl knew Castro.

If you have any information on this case or know the location of Pearl, please call the Solano County Sheriff’s Office at 707-784-1963.

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

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